Monthly Archives: June 2011

Book Review: Enchantment – Guy Kawasaki

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

“I’m going to show you how to change the world, not understand it.” -Guy Kawasaki, Enchantment

It’s not too often that I read “business” books. I’ve read things like Who Moved My Cheese, and Soar with Your Strengths, but they’re not usually my cup of tea. But when BzzAgent.com told me about Enchantment, I was immediately interested. I just accepted a new position with my company, working on a large project that will require influencing a lot of people, so the timing was great. And the name Guy Kawasaki was one that I was familiar with from his work with Apple. And even if I didn’t know his name, getting pull quotes on the cover from Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak would have caught my eye. I signed up for a copy and was lucky to be one of 90 to get it for free.

What are your passions? Do you hide them under a bushel? Instead, tell the world that you love cooking, hockey, NASCAR, or knitting – whatever it is – because pursuing your passions makes you more interesting, and interesting people are enchanting.

The book is really interesting, but it’s still formatted like a business book. It’s Guy Kawasaki’s ability to enchant the reader that makes it stand above the rest though. And really, the book is about how to be enchanting, so I had to expect to be enchanted, and for the most part I was. I must admit though that the first half of the book was more enchanting than the second half.

…heroes, mensches, and simply likable and trustworthy people are enchanting, and if you want to enchant others, you need to aspire to those attributes, too.

The book has 12 chapters, and each chapter ends with personal examples from other people about their experiences being enchanted. And throughout the book Guy Kawasaki shares his own personal experiences of enchantment and real world examples of enchanting ideas and products. These stories are really where the book shines. It gets bogged down towards the end of the book when it leaves the personal examples of bulletpoints and checklists.

Death is the great equalizer – we all die equal… While we’re living , we need to get over ourselves and accept others if we want to enchant people.

One of the best things about the book is that it’s not specific to any one industry or position in a company. So many business books are only about how to be a good manager, or how to manage a project, etc. No matter who you are or what you do, you can find things in this book that can inspire you to be better at whatever it is you do, because it’s about how to delight people, and everyone can use those skills.

The goal of enchantment is a long-lasting change – not a onetime sale or transaction. In other words, you want enchantment to endure and, even better, to blossom. That’s what happens when you change hearts, minds, and actions.

At the end of the book, I come away with a feeling that Guy Kawasaki is a cool person – someone you’d want to grab a beer with and watch a hockey game (one of his passions), and then fight over who is picking up the bar tab. He’s enchanting, and so is the book.

Full disclosure: I received Enchantment for free to review by being a BzzAgent for BzzAgent.com. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Off the Record – Jennifer O’Connell

My blogging has been sporadic lately, but I’m a voracious book fiend, so I’m going to add book reviews to this blog.

Off The RecordThe most recent book I read was Off the Record, by Jennifer O’Connell. I finished reading it this morning. I kept my son up late last night because it’s summer, which allowed him to sleep in this morning, and since sleeping in is pretty impossible for me, I used the gift of time to finish the book. And make banana pancakes, but that’s a different story.

I suppose Off the Record would be described as chick lit. I don’t like pigeon holing books into genres and subgenres, but I’m sure my friend Sarah would classify it as such, and tease me about reading it, because I am in the middle of a perpetually unfinished novel that she classifies as chick lit, too.

Off The Record tells the story of a plain Jane lawyer (fittingly named Jane), who learns that a famous pop song was written about her. It’s a bit of a second-coming of age novel, as Jane is reunited with the little known next door neighbor of her childhood who became the well known one hit wonder. Jane struggles the conflict between the person she thinks she should be and the person described in the song.

The character of Jane develops realistically through the story, but the rest of the characters felt a little flat for me. There were several subplots that could have added more texture to the book, and supporting characters could have had their own development instead of acting as a peanut gallery for Jane’s story. But ultimately, this is Jane’s story, and that part of it works. I also found the backdrop of Chicago to be well-formed. The book definitely knows where it is.

This book reminds me a bit of Tiffanie Debartolo’s How to Kill a Rock Star, a book with the grit of a rock star, which I would recommend well above Off the Record, which is light bubble gum pop – there’s flavor, but not much sustenance.Ā The book is an easy read and would make a good beach book this summer.

The next book I’ll review is Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, by Guy Kawasaki. BzzAgent sent it to me for free, and since I just accepted a new project analyst job that will require persuasion, I’m looking forward to reading it. Guy was part of the team the originally marketed the Apple Macintosh in 1984, so I think he knows what he’s talking about.